This is me with one of the most beautiful things I know. This is my car.
She and I have a lot in common: we both love to go fast, we both look great in black and we both are.. women of a certain age. She’s actually only 8 years old but BMW M car years are kind like dog years– they are awesome, but they go quickly.
After 8 years and 105,000 miles together, this vehicle and I have been through a lot. We saw two girls grow into young women, a puppy grow into a dog..
and two of our favorite passengers have since gone to the great Mulholland in the sky. And in the process, we’ve taken a hit or two. As I ponder whether to spruce her up, buff it all out and trade her in, I realize that she has taught me so much about what it means to grow old with dignity. Here are the 5 big take aways:
5. Perfection Is A Bore
Does my car has scratches? You bet. Are the wheels nicked to shreds? Hell yeah. And could her entire body use a paint job? You betcha. But I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Why? Well, sit in traffic in LA for one hour and you’ll realize, everywhere you look there are plenty of fresh, flawless, right off the lot vehicles. So many that it’s almost boring. Another Porsche? Yup. A Turbo S? Snore. A 911 GTS? Yawn. But sit in traffic next to a ’76 Porsche 912E in that weird Mustard color that no would dare try today and hmmm… now THAT is interesting. So why try to look perfect? The most interesting characters are obviously, overtly, wonderfully flawed.
4. Experience Is Beautiful
Thanks to my kick ass job, I drive a lot of brand spankin’ new cars. But I’m always happy to get back into my own ride. Why? It certainly doesn’t have all of the latest and greatest technology. The new car smell is long gone and what remains is a weird potpourri of dog hair and spilled Kombucha. But I like the way the steering wheel melts into my palms. I love the fact that I don’t have to look for any of the buttons or knobs. The fact that I know exactly where to accelerate to get the most out of every corner in my neighborhood is almost as comforting as knowing that my emergency lipgloss is in the glovebox. This vehicle and I get each other & it’s wonderful.
3. Aging Well Requires Work
Sometimes my car looks fresh, young and new. And sometimes she’s covered in Santa Ana dust and bird poop. I find that that the older she gets, the more maintenance (both superficial and under the hood) she requires. If I just honor that, she’ll behave just fine. If I give her just a little extra, she’s more than happy to show cars half her age what’s up when you combine twin turbos with 5,000 pounds of carpool madness!
2. No Amount Of Plastic Can Hide The Truth
The other consideration is to get crazy with a bunch of aftermarket parts. Slap this on here, cover this with that, if I put this here, no one will see her age. But guess what? They will. The 2011 X5m doesn’t look like the 2018 model and that’s ok. In fact, I prefer it. So you can keep your blacked out taillight housings or body-kits, my baby’s beautiful, just the way she is.
And the #1 Aging Secret From My Car Is:
Aging Gracefully Is The Ultimate Luxury
Sure, aging is tough. Middle age is particularly brutal. It’s this awkward phase where one is no longer young but not yet an antique. This why there isn’t a thriving market for middle aged vehicles. It simply isn’t a thing. But when she’s older and pushing 150,000 miles, somebody’s gonna try to buy her. The first question they’ll ask is “what’s original”? Am I gonna say “well, I did this thing, I replaced that, this got dusty so I did this”? Nope. I’m gonna say “this is the stain where my dog puked”, “this is the dent from my garage” and “this right here is the seat where I told my daughter about the birds and the bees,” then I’ll promptly burst into tears, forcing him to run away screaming. It may be a bummer, but it will be honest, it will be real.
We should all age as gracefully as my car.